This is Alastair Paisley's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Alastair Paisley's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Alastair Paisley
Recent Activity
@ Osenefous > Since we can neither prove nor disprove your argument it becomes unfounded belief not empirical truth. < My argument is based on rationalism, not empiricism. Your argument that the only valid truth is empirical truth is itself not based on empiricism. As such, it is inherently self-refuting.
Toggle Commented Oct 4, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Bronze Dog > I need an explanation of why it's impossible. < If you understood the meanings of the terms "necessary" and "contingent" (which apparently you did not), then you should have immediately grasped why it is impossible. That you're asking me to explain why it is impossible is tantamount to asking me to explain why 2 + 2 = 4. You either get it or you don't. If you don't, then we cannot continue. You clearly do not have intellectual capacity to engage in a rational debate. > The way I'm looking at it right now, a cause "needs" its effect to happen in order to be a cause, to be what it is, so a cause-effect relationship looks like a two-way contingency to me. < If a cause NEEDS its effect to happen in order to be a cause, then something must be necessary. <= See...I can play your sophistry game too.
Toggle Commented Oct 4, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Yojimbo > You need to show why the real world must obey logic. It is purely an assumption on your part that it does. Or a belief - in which case your agrument reduces to you believing what you believe because you believe it. < I don't believe everything has to have a logical explanation. (I believe some things may be irreducibly mysterious...what pseudoskeptics seem to refer to as "woo.") But we can't have a rational debate unless we agree to adhere to some kind of logical standards.
Toggle Commented Oct 4, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Bronze Dog > Currently, I do not see a reason to accept your premise that everything can't be contingent. < You have to furnish me with a reason to reject it by specifically identifying where it is flawed. > Some additional clarification on the terms "necessary" and "contingent" as you're using them would also be nice. In my experience, the specialized definitions are most typically (mis)used to distort or manufacture meaning, rather than express ideas. < Merriam-Webster defines "necessary" as "logically unavoidable...that cannot be denied without contradiction." Merriam-Webster defines "contingent" as "dependent on or conditioned by something else." > As for why I haven't been focusing on this point, well, why is it that important? < I have already stated why in a previous post.
Toggle Commented Oct 4, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Bronze Dog > Alastair, are you being evasive because you know we know your game and won't play along? < I'm not being evasive; you are. Me: "My original argument on this thread that "something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent" is most certainly true in the same sense that the mathematical statement "2 + 2 = 4" is most certainly true." You: "Even if we granted that, so what?" You're NOT granting me anything. Either you acknowledge that "something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent" or you don't. If you don't, then you are obligated to identify the logical flaw in my argument. Failure to do so ends this debate. That's how it works. I make an argument. You either accept the argument or furnish me with a counterargument. That's how the 'game' is played. (I'm not about to go through the same exercise in futility with you that I had to go through with Skeptico.)
Toggle Commented Oct 3, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Bronze Dog > Even if we granted that, so what? < I'm not doing any "for sake of argument" here. Either you agree that my argument is logically valid and sound or you do not. If you do not, them please identify the flaw.
Toggle Commented Oct 2, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Bronze Dog > Something I feel I should note: We're not asking for "utter certainty," either. We're just asking for a reasonable level of confidence and plausibility, like we would for any science question under debate. Certainty is rarely possible outside of pure mathematics. < My original argument on this thread that "something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent" is most certainly true in the same sense that the mathematical statement "2 + 2 = 4" is most certainly true.
Toggle Commented Oct 2, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Skeptico > Yes, believes – without evidence, yet you believe it anyway. I understood perfectly. < Yes, the term "believer" means one who BELIEVES. > The other thing I understood is that you cover up this unjustified belief with the word “understand.” Now “understand” has several definitions: < Yes, the term "understand" does have several meanings. Merriam-Webster's second definition of "understand" defines the term as "to accept as a fact or truth or regard as plausible without utter certainty." I "accept as truth" that the uncaused cause is God. I "regard as plausible without utter certainty" that the uncaused cause is God. "Believers like myself understand the necessary, uncaused cause to be God." (This is only difficult for someone who lacks reading comprehension skills and/or critical thinking skills.) > On the contrary, I agreed “for the sake of the discussion, let’s say you are correct…” < Me: "My argument is: "Something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent." If you really don't believe it is a logically valid argument, then please state the logical flaw. Either state the logical flaw or acknowledge that it is logically valid. If you can't do that, then this debate is over." You: "And what I keep saying is, so what? And you keep ignoring the question. OK, something must be necessary." Now, you are backtracking and denying that you have acknowledged that "something must be necessary." And since you have also failed to identify any logical flaw with my argument, this debate is over.
Toggle Commented Oct 2, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Big Al > Everything has to have a direct, immediately preceding cause: The radioactive decay of an individual atom doesn't. < Sounds like you have evidence for an "uncaused cause" to me. "The idea that an electron...by its own free decision chooses the moment and direction in which it wants to eject is intolerable to me. If that is so, I'd rather be a cobbler or a clerk in a gambling casino than a physicist." - Albert Einstein (source: pg. 574, "Albert Einstein" by Albrecht Fölsing, translated by Ewald Osers) Merriam-Webster defines "indeterminism" as "a theory that the will is free and that deliberate choice and actions are not determined by or predictable from antecedent causes" or "a theory that holds that not every event has a cause." > So that uncaused cause has to be a supernatural, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, personal being: < Well, an "uncaused cause" is certainly not a physical explanation. So, unless your "naturalism" involves something nonphysical, then I guess an uncaused cause would qualify as supernaturalistic explanation. The uncaused cause would also qualify as omnipotent because it is the source of all potency.
Toggle Commented Oct 1, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Skeptico > Sorry to tell you this Mr. not-at-all-logically-challenged, but you understand nothing. You say you ‘understand’ it is god, but this is just a semantic diversion to cover up the reality, which is that you just choose to believe it is god. (Calling it an ‘understanding’ rather than just a belief does not make it any more credible and doesn’t make it true.) You believe it’s god because you started off believing it was god. But you have no facts evidence or logic to show it is god. < You will recall that I stated: "BELIEVERS like myself understand the necessary, uncaused cause to be God." The term "believer" means one who believes. (This doesn't reveal a cover up. It simply reveals that your reading comprehension skills leave something to be desired.) > All you are saying, all you have ever said, is that something must have caused all the things we observe because the universe couldn’t have just popped into existence by itself. < Correction! I argued that that is was an "UNCAUSED cause," not merely a "cause." (And I will remind you, that you agreed my argument was valid.) > All you are saying, all you have ever said, is that something must have caused all the things we observe because the universe couldn’t have just popped into existence by itself. All the tortured posts (26 by my rough count) where you were determined to steer the discussion towards the specific words “necessary,” “uncaused” and “causes all other contingent things” that you have learned somewhere will suit your conclusion, as though these words were magic talismans. < The explanation that "everything is popping into existence uncaused" does sound like a magical explanation to me. I don't know how else you would characterize that. Mystical, maybe?
Toggle Commented Oct 1, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Bronze Dog > Alastair, HOW do you know this alleged necessary uncaused cause is this thing you call a god? < I don't believe I have ever employed the term "know" in this regards. > The tough issue in arguing about real life is cogency. Validity means that if your premises are true, your conclusion will be true. Cogency/soundness means that your premises are true. If any one of your premises is false, your logic fails to be compelling because it's effectively changing the venue to a fictional world where those premises are true. < I agree with this.
Toggle Commented Oct 1, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Skeptico > No idea. What do you call it? (Although I think we all know what Alastair is going to call it.) < Believers like myself understand the necessary, uncaused cause to be God. But skeptics like yourself now know that they owe their existence to a necessary, uncaused cause because it can be logically demonstrated to them.
Toggle Commented Sep 28, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Skeptico > OK, something must be necessary. < Finally. You: "SO WHAT?" Me: "So, every contingent thing that comes into being owes its existence to something that causes it to come into being. But this cannot be merely another contingent thing. Ultimately it must be something that is necessary, something that is uncaused which causes all other contingent things to come into being." You: "So what? What's your point" So what do you call something that is necessary, something that is uncaused, something which causes all other contingent things to come into being?
Toggle Commented Sep 28, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Skeptico > The intellectually honest person tries to understand and respond to the other person's actual argument < Well, it would appear that you're not an intellectually honest person because you are still not responding to my argument. My argument is: "Something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent." If you really don't believe it is a logically valid argument, then please state the logical flaw. Either state the logical flaw or acknowledge that it is logically valid. If you can't do that, then this debate is over.
Toggle Commented Sep 27, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Skeptico > It may be logically valid but that doesn’t mean it is correct. < There is no "may be" about it. It's correct because it's logically valid. > This is getting tiresome so (against my better judgment) I am going to throw you a bone. < You're not throwing me a bone; you're vainly attempting to "save face" because you KNOW that my argument is logically valid and therefore correct. > SO WHAT? < So, every contingent thing that comes into being owes its existence to something that causes it to come into being. But this cannot be merely another contingent thing. Ultimately it must be something that is necessary, something that is uncaused which causes all other contingent things to come into being.
Toggle Commented Sep 27, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Skeptics > Once again, I don't know. < Well, if you don't truly know whether my argument is logically valid, then you obviously can't refute it. And if you can't refute it, then this debate is over. That's how it works. Duh! > Neither do you. < Speak for yourself. I'm not logically challenged like you. I do know. I know that my argument is logically valid in the same way I know that the mathematical statement "2 + 2 = 4" is logically valid. It's based on pure rationality, not empiricism. I know that something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent. Everything can't be contingent because that would imply an infinite regress - a logical fallacy.
Toggle Commented Sep 27, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Skeptico Let's step through this one last time. I first asked you: "What else would you define as that which must exist?" To which you replied: "Offhand, I can't think of anything." To which I replied: "Well, something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent." That's my argument: "Something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent." Responding "I don't know" is ONLY a valid option if you truly don't know whether my argument is logically valid. So, is that what you're saying...that you truly don't know whether my argument is logically valid? (Please note that I haven't even broached the topic of "God" at this point. So, don't attempt to evade the question by going on one of your antitheistic tantrums.)
Toggle Commented Sep 27, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Darth Cynic > Oh come now, that's not an argument that was merely a lead in for the rest of the script your interlocutor was to follow to ha, HA! God! < Translation: "I can't refute your argument."
Toggle Commented Sep 27, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Darth Cynic My argument was clearly stated in the beginning of this thread: "Something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent." I see nothing in your bloviated response that even begins to address it, let alone refutes it Until then, this debate is over.
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Skeptico > I keep asking you to come to the point but you refuse, instead preferring to play games. < The only one playing games here is you. You continue to evade the question - a simple "yes or no" question. > Just because there may need to be something that is not caused by something else, that does not mean that that thing must be “god.” < There's really only one answer here: an "uncaused cause." > If you read the work of any modern physicists (Victor Stenger has some good writing on this) you would know that things do pop into existence all the time without being caused by anything else (look up “quantum vacuum fluctuation”). So “god” is still not required < I know I have won the argument whenever a skeptic has to resort to employing the term "uncaused" to explain observed phenomena. (By the way, everything (not some things) reduces to uncaused events - a.k.a. quantum events.) "Since the Universe could, under different circumstances, conceivably not exist (contingency), its existence must have a cause – not merely another contingent thing, but something that exists by necessity (something that must exist in order for anything else to exist).[8] In other words, even if the Universe has always existed, it still owes its existence to an Uncaused Cause,[9] Aquinas further said: "...and this we understand to be God."[10] (source: Wikipedia: Cosmological argument)
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Skeptico > So what? < You asked me what was my point. I explicitly stated it. Do you agree with it? Yes or no?
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Yojimbo > No, it is not. That is an infinite process, which is entirely possible in an infinite universe. < An infinite process requires an infinite amount of time to process. So, it is a logically impossibility that an infinite amount of time has elapsed to reach the present moment. (You either grasp this or you don't. If you don't, then we cannot continue this discussion.) > If there is a beginning then it is not an infinite universe, but we can't know anything about the initial condtions so we can't possibly know what was "necessary" - so why ask the question? < We can ask logical questions and make logical deductions or inferences. Question: Is it logically possible that everything can be contingent? Answer: No Question: If it is logically impossible that everything can be contingent, does this imply that something is necessary? Answer: Yes
Toggle Commented Sep 25, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Skeptico The point that I am making is a point that I have already made - namely, that "something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent." Either you believe that everything is contingent or you do not. If you do not, then you believe that something must be necessary (by default). So, what do you believe? (I have already stated what I believe. Nevertheless, for the sake of clarity, I will reiterate it. I believe that something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent. I believe that it is a logical impossibility that everything can be contingent.)
Toggle Commented Sep 25, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Skeptico > You, however, do think that something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent, because you wrote above, and I quote: "Something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent." < Yes, that was my counterargument. Are you disagreeing with that? Yes or no? (If you can't give me a clear response, then there is no point to continue this discussion.)
Toggle Commented Sep 25, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
@ Yojimbo You're proposing an infinite series of temporal causes. That's clearly an infinite regress.
Toggle Commented Sep 25, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply